Fall is finally here. This begins the season of countdowns. Days until cooler weather. Days until the autumn colors bloom. Days until candy and costumes. Days until turkey and gluttony. Days until winter and Christmas.

The seasons are changing.

Something about it brings into focus the relativity of time. Did Einstein mean that the constructs of time and space are relative to the observer? I cannot remember the finer details of my physics course from when I attended the University of Arkansas all those years ago. But that’s what it has come to mean to me. Especially in consideration of time.

Do you remember when you were a young child and it took so long to get from one birthday to the next? I’m five years old today. Now I am five and a quarter. Now I am five and a half. We had to break it down into smaller chunks just so it didn’t seem so unobtainable. Then you hit 40—crap, I’m turning 41 tomorrow. I imagine when I’m 80, I’ll be thinking, “Crap. I’ll be 90 by the end of the day.”

Time is warped based on the observer.

As a kid, I remember my mother made these countdown calendars that showed me the number of days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I guess they’re called Advent calendars, but I never knew them by that name. Each day had a small peppermint candy cane tied to it, and I got to take it down when I got home from school.

Were they meant to build excitement? Oh, Christmas is approaching! Only x-number of days until we get presents and candy and nuts and fruit and cinnamon rolls and the Christmas story. As a child, they didn’t do that for me. They served more as devices of torture in my memory: Look! You still have so many more days before you reach your goal. Even that last one didn’t mean anything. Are we there yet? Nope. One more day.

WHAT I’M UP TO

WRITING: Slipping the Cradle will be sent off to the publisher by this coming Saturday. Been a long time coming. But a 180,000-word novel takes some time. If a novel officially begins at a word count of 40,000 words, I have written four and one-half. I received feedback on my short story “The Forum” and it was good. Additionally, one of my publishers really liked it as well.

FICTION: Still reading two books at the same time whose covers fascinated me, causing me to want to read them: Clementine by John T. Biggs is a post-apocalyptic novel which I have been intrigued by since it came out last year; The One-Eyed Man by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. is a science fiction dealing with a man at the end of his rope that travels to a remote colony world to investigate the ecological impact of humans on giant indigenous organisms that live in the sky. Reading two at the same time can take a little bit of time.

Clementine by John T. Biggs and The One-Eyed Man by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

NONFICTION: Doing a lot of re-reading when it comes to my non-fiction selections lately. This time I broke out the iPad and opened Gilbert K. Chesterton’s What’s Wrong with the World. A particular quote from it stands out: “What’s wrong is that we do not ask what is right.” When things go bad, it’s easy to point a finger. But when things are running as they should, we need to ascertain why and build on the positive.

TELEVISION: Back in 2016, I watched the first season of this very intriguing show called Falling Water. It is about “dreamers,” people that can wander in and out of other people’s nocturnal visions. I found the second season on Amazon Prime and am midway through it. It is called a supernatural drama, but I think it was mislabeled and mis-marketed, leading to its cancellation after the second season. I’m hoping it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger.

Great series dealing with entering other dreams.

MOVIES: I saw The Ballad of Lefty Brown over the weekend. A western starring Bill Pullman and Jim Caviezel that came out at the end of 2017. Loved it. Pullman plays the titular character who is bent on bringing to justice the man responsible for his long-time friend’s death. He plays a simple character that no one seems to think can get the job done. In fact, at one point, they think he did it. So, there is this beautiful juxtaposition of hunting down the killer and being hunted as the killer. It is also one of the rare films where I agree more with the critcs than the audiences.

The critic scores were more accurate than the audience valuations…for once.